Cornerstone Society

The Annual Fund is essential to propelling Duke forward, and its most loyal donors are a pivotal part of that. In order to highlight and recognize the Annual Fund’s most loyal donors, we have the Cornerstone Society. This past year, we are proud to say that there were more than 30,000 members of the Cornerstone Society. Gifts from members of the Cornerstone Society represented 60% of the overall total of Annual Fund donors.

Donors who have supported the Annual Fund at any amount for five or more consecutive years are recognized as members. Undergraduates who have supported the Annual Fund every year since graduation (or since our computerized records began) are further recognized as lifetime donors. Membership in the Cornerstone Society is renewable annually. Our fiscal year is from July 1 through June 30. 

Cornerstone Society members are also acknowledged in respective donor honor rolls, and are invited to various events throughout the year. 

Leadership Giving Societies

Last year, gifts from leadership gift society members represented more than 85% of the Annual Fund’s cash total. These critical funds enabled the University to not only meet pressing needs in the classroom and across campus, but additionally to innovate and create new academic opportunities that are essential for Duke to continue to excel!

Impact of Leadership Giving 

  • $1,000 can send a student to a professional conference in their field to present research, helping new scholars launch their careers and cultivate valuable networks
  • $5,000 can support a summer internship overseas for a student interested in working for nonprofits or governmental organizations
  • $10,000 can support a student entrepreneur in the Student Founders Program who is delivering extraordinary impact by pursuing startup ventures
  • $25,000 could enable a school to impact the Durham community, such as hiring a student fellow in the Duke Law Civil Justice Clinic  
  • $60,000 can provide financial aid to fully fund tuition for one undergraduate who may not otherwise be able to attend Duke

Duke has a number of leadership giving societies so that our most generous donors are recognized for their philanthropy and generosity. Membership is based on unrestricted gifts made or facilitated by an individual and their spouse. Corporate matching gifts count toward membership if received or verified within the same fiscal year the gift was made.

Membership is renewable annually, and Duke’s fiscal year is from July 1 through June 30. 

The Duke Annual Fund Leadership Giving Societies recognize all donors to the Duke Annual Fund. In addition, particular schools and units distinguish donors at various giving levels within the respective school or unit. 

Duke Annual Fund Leadership Giving Societies

SocietyGift Level
President’s SocietyExecutive Cabinet: $100,000+
Cabinet: $50,000 – $99,999
Executive Council: $25,000 – $49,999
Council: $10,000 – $24,999
Washington Duke SocietyPartner: $5,000 – $9,999
Fellow: $2,500 – $4,999
Leader: $1,000 – $2,499
Recent Undergraduate Leader: $500
Senior Gift Leader: $100

Benefits of Membership

  • Invitations to special leadership events
  • Donors will receive special edition 18-month digital calendar
  • Recognition in appropriate honor rolls (please note that the criteria for inclusion in a particular honor roll varies by school and unit; not all schools and units produce donor honor rolls)
  • For personal assistance with Duke matters or information about gift clubs, please contact:
  • President’s Society members who give $10,000 or more are offered a book/e-book of their choice from a selection of Duke titles
  • Young Alumni Leadership donors may choose to receive an e-book from a Duke author (selection will change each year)
  • President’s Society members who give under $100,000 will receive a five percent discount to the Duke Executive Health Program, and those who give above $100,000 will receive a 10 percent discount. For more information about the program, please visit or call 919-660-6606 to sign up.

If you have questions or would like additional information about joining any of our gift clubs, please contact Matt Cloues, Director of Alumni & Leadership Giving, at or 919-681-0485.

Recognizing Giving by School/Unit

Six of Duke’s schools, along with the Nasher Museum of Art and the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, have established their own giving societies to further recognize annual supporters. Follow the links below to each school or unit’s website for further information about these giving societies and the benefits of membership.

Divinity School
Divinity Benefactor$25,000+
Divinity Patron$10,000 – $24,999
Divinity Sponsor$5,000 – $9,999
Divinity Fellow$2,500 – $4,999
York Society$1,000 – $2,499
Dean’s Club$500 – $999
1926 Club$250 – $499
Century Club$100 – $249

Fuqua School of Business
Rex D. Adams Society
Cumulative Commitments to Fuqua
Thomas F. Keller Leadership Donor Society$2,500+
* Recent graduates (1-4 years) can join the Keller Society with a minimum gift of $1,000 annually.

Nicholas School of the Environment
Nicholas School Champions$100,000+
Blue Sky Vanguard$25,000 – $99,999
Blue Sky$10,000 – $24,999
Summit Society$1,000 – $9,999

School of Nursing
The Bessie Baker Society honors the generosity of individuals who have made an annual fund gift of $1,000 or more ($500 for recent nursing school graduates) to the Duke University School of Nursing.
Bessie Baker Society
Innovators Society$25,000
Leadership Society$10,000
Dean’s Circle$5,000
(within five years of graduation; first degree only)

School of Law
The School of Law’s giving societies recognize all annual giving to the school, not only unrestricted gifts to the school’s annual fund.
Barrister Donor Society*
The Latty Circle$100,000+
The Everett Circle$50,000 – $99,999
The Shimm Circle$25,000 – $49,999
The Dean’s Circle$10,000 – $24,999
Partner$5,000 – $9,999
Member$2,500 – $4,999
*Recent graduates of 1-5 years, judges, educators, and those who work for the government or in public service are members at $1,000 annually.

School of Medicine
Davison Club
Innovators Society$25,000+
Leadership Society$10,000 – $24,999
Dean’s Circle$5,000 – $9,999
Davison Fellow$2,500 – $4,999
Family Member$1,500 – $2,499
Member$1,000 – $1,499
Recent Graduate Member (5-9 years since graduation)$500 – $999
Recent Graduate Member (1-4 years since graduation)$250 – $999

Other Annual Giving

Nasher Museum of Art
Brummer Society
Director’s Circle$10,000+
Gold$5,000 – $9,999
Silver$2,500 – $4,999
Bronze$1,500 – $2,499
Other Supporting Member Categories
Benefactor$1,000 – $1,499
Sustainer$500 – $999
Patron$250 – $499
Sponsor$120 – $249

Sarah P. Duke Gardens
Duke Gardens Society 
Gold Patron$5,000
Silver Patron$2,500
Bronze Patron$1,000
Other supporting member categories
Sustaining Gardens Partner$750
Contributing Gardens Partner$500
Supporting Gardens Partner$250
Family Level Member$100
Dual Level Member$75
Individual Member$50